There are a wide variety of assessment tools on the market these days. From assessing your learning style to determining your organisational culture we all seem to be fascinated about learning more about ourselves and the people we work with. But where do they stop being a useful tool for reflection and discussion and when do they become something else?
Firstly it is important to mention that many assessment tools have a similar purpose – most of them are designed to help us to understand something about ourselves and most commonly how that impacts on us in a work setting. The key factor with a good assessment tool is that it is easy to use and easy to understand. When this happens, it can be a powerful method for revealing our strengths and also highlighting our future development needs. This can be valuable in helping us to understand ourselves and others and can have immediate benefits on our personal and professional relationships and as a flow on, for our organisation as well.
They can provide a focus that opens the door for discussions across all areas of work, depending on the tool and in some cases lead to clearer personal realisations about who we are and how our behaviours and practices impact those around us. So what are the top five things that can help you get the most out of whatever profile tool you are using?
1. Know the tool well.
Make sure you have taken the test yourself so you know how it works. Most tools come with some sort of support guide that outlines how the test was developed, how to deliver it and how to interpret the results. Buy that too. You won’t get the best outcome from the tool or the results without it.
2. Connect the tool to the context
There are so many tools out there, so make sure you choose the right one to get you to the outcome you are looking for. Use a combination of tools if you need to.
3. Provide Clear Instructions
You will not get accurate results if the test is not completed correctly. Having administered thousands of these assessment tools, I know there is always someone who missed a key instruction. Make sure you have multiple ways for your learners to check eg usually there are instructions with the assessment tool but I also talk my learners through it, write it up on the whiteboard and have a sample on a slide for them to look at. This is simpler than having someone who completed the tool incorrectly, spending the rest of the session disagreeing with everything that is said.
4. Check in with the learners as they are completing the tool
Even after all those instructions I still make sure I roam around the room looking at the tests to just make sure that it is all going well eg with our Learning Type Measure you have to use a 1,2,3,4 on every line. If I notice a line filled with ones I can correct things before the whole tool has been completed incorrectly.
5. Don’t use them to label!
Putting people into boxes is soooo counterproductive. Don’t do it. It gives us excuses for bad behaviour or poor performance. There are always exceptions to the rule so trying to find a box that fits every individual is impossible. Almost all tools will provide you with information about strengths and areas for development so make sure you highlight both.Assessment Tools, Learners, Learning Styles, Testing
Author: Melinda Zanetich - Director & Master Trainer - 4MAT 4Learning - Asia Pacific Region